The Catholic University of America

Narratology and the Lied

Dr. Andrew H. Weaver

 

This seminar offers students a focused immersion into the experience of applying contemporary literary theory to music.  Our theory of choice will be narratology, the theory and study of narrative texts, which has been a mainstay in the musicological literature for over three decades but has rarely been applied to texted music.  In our class meetings, we will use narratology to explore a genre that has received almost no narratological attention, the Romantic Lied, with our primary goal being hermeneutic, opening up new interpretations of the works within their aesthetic context.  The course will be divided into three roughly equal parts:  the first part will be devoted to reading seminal works of narratology, the second part will focus on the application of narrative theory to individual settings of various types of poems (ballads, lyric poetry, etc.), and the last part will focus on three of Robert Schumann’s greatest song cycles: Dichterliebe, the Heine Liederkreis (Op. 24), and the Eichendorff Liederkreis (Op. 39).

 

Classes shall be conducted primarily as discussion, with frequent student presentations; students will receive weekly reading and analysis assignments and will also occasionally write short papers.  There is also a final independent research paper applying narratology to a substantial texted musical work of the student’s choice, which need not be limited to the Romantic era.

 

 

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